The 3 Series is basically the bread & butter model for the German car maker BMW. The car model has been one of the highest selling models not only in India but also globally. Now BMW is getting its Long Wheel Base model into India that they call as the ‘Gran Limousine’ which promises to offer best in class cabin space, especially rear seat along with all the other premium stuff loaded on to it. We drive the latest BMW in town to get you all that you should know on it and more.
Food for Thought
The BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine was launched in China in 2019 and India becomes only the second country to get it. The 3 Series Gran Limousine (GL) will be built at BMW’s Chennai facility via CKD units. The latest generation 3 Series is known as the G20 and uses BMW’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform. The BWW 3 Series GL will replace the 3 GT in India. An electric version of the 3 Series is also expected by 2023.
Well first glance at the BMW 320Ld and you instantly notice the extra large length of the car which also boosts up its road presence. The long wheelbase version of the 3 Series stands at 4829mm in length, 2961mm in wheelbase which is 110mm more than the regular 3 Series. Upfront you get the striking latest generation BMW face which comes with the new age BMW kidney grille that’s framed with a single chrome surround and sixteen vertical chrome slats around the active air intake flaps that open and close as needed. The headlights come with twin ‘U’ styled LED DRL in them along with all white LED glow for the intelligent headlights. The front bumper gets chrome and black inserts on the outer edge along with a wide air dam with horizontal flaps in black. The bonnet is low slung and comes with typical BMW styled four character lines that flow back.
The side profile is the most important and unique on the 3 Series GL due to its sheer extended size. Here you notice the extra wheelbase the car along with slim fenders, sharp waistline, unique character line on the lower door section and chrome inserts around the glass area. Not forgetting the trademark Hofmeister kink on the C-pillar finishing the trademark BMW styling. The BME 3 GL drives on 225/50 R17 tyres mounted on dual tone multi spoke alloys. The boot area is 480 liters on the BMW 3 GL.
The rear profile is comes with an 3D styled all LED slim tail lamp that’s neatly placed here along with smooth countering on the extreme tail section which doubles up as integrated spoiler. The rear bumper also gets the chrome inserts along with black inserts and also placed here are the twin exhausts again with chrome surround in the lower section of the bumper which is finished in black. The roof gets shark fin antenna and a panoramic electric sunroof. The boot lid can be electrically opened or closed using the key fob.
Step inside the BMW 3 GL and you instantly are cocooned in premium quality cabin area. Lets start with the rear seat as that’s what all this car is about. First thing that hits you is the ease of entry with the larger doors and door opening. The extended wheelbase extends the rear seat comfort big time. You get tons of leg, knee room. You have a perfect seating position with near to perfect seat padding and countering.
Head room is also excellent. Infact you will feel you are seated in the 5 Series that’s the amount of rear seat space that the 3GL offers. As per BMW you get 43mm of more leg room but it feels like much more than that in practicality. Rear passengers get three manual adjust head rest, foldable center arm rest and rear climate control settings along with USB C type mobile charge port.
Coming back to the front, the dash comes in dual tone finish with the top section in black and the lower in tan. The dash oozes of premium quality and finish and is made up of soft rubber material with real metal inserts, real wood inserts very neatly placed on it. You also get customizable ambient light inserts in the dash and door pads adding to the premium feel. The steering is a three spoke design with premium leather wrap and generous amount of real metal inserts on it around the MFD buttons. The instrument cluster is a 12.3 inch display screen which works as a virtual cockpit unit reading out all the tell tale and speedo RPM along with G-Force info too.
The center dash gets a 10.25 inch touch screen display unit which is its AVN unit. This unit runs in typical BMW fashion and can be controlled either by touch input or by the control dial placed on the center console. All connectivity options included like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, voice commands etc. You also get a three zone climate control placed under the AVN touch screen. The BMW 3GL also gets a wireless charger dock on the centre console alone with the trademark new age BMW style shifter in glossy black finish. The center console gets real wood surrounds, metal inserts that make it look extra classy and premium. Placed here are the drive control buttons, engine start stop button, auto hold and parking brake buttons.
The front seats let premium leather upholstery and come with full electric adjust for height, reach, incline and also get memory function. Front seats offer generous amount of space, comfort and back support in typical premium BMW style. Everything in here is made of premium material and feels built for life. The key USP here being the rear seat comfort and legroom.
Engine – Transmission – Drive
The BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine is available in two engine options. The Diesel option is the one we drove the 320Ld comes powered by the 2.0L Twin Turbo oil burner which makes 190PS of power and generates 400Nm of torque. This engine also comes mated to the 8-speed dual clutch transmission. The Petrol version is the 320Li and gets the 2.0L Twin Turbo engine that hits out 250 PS of power and 400Nm of peak torque mated to a 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
Coming to the driving bit, the 320Ld drives in typical BMW premium fashion with high level of refinement and power. BMW cars have always been fun to drive, infact they are the best to drive if you are looking for top class drive pleasure. The car handles super sharp and corners very nicely again in trademark BMW fashion.
The speed buildup is instant and if you want more fun then you can simply toggle between the preset drive modes namely Eco Pro (daily traffic use), Comfort (best suspension setup) and Sport (stiff suspension, instant acceleration, total steering feedback). Shifting between the drive modes also changes the display on the digital instrument cluster.
The BMW 320Ld like the regular 320d has lot to offer to an enthusiast and it will surely bring a smile to your face with the amount of fun and engagement it has to offer. The suspension setup is also tuned well for our road conditions. The car didn’t scrape any speed breaker or did its under belly touch the surface which makes it ideal for our roads.
The BMW 3 Series is the best driver’s car if you are in the entry Luxury segment and now with this the Long Wheelbase version well you can also enjoy the rear seat comforts for the week days being chauffeured around and on weekends take the wheel to get all the drive pleasure from this rocket of a car. The BMW 320Ld looks striking, has all the features loaded till the brim, drives typically like a BMW and has all the fun factor involved and now has tons of rear seat comfort making it just that perfect option if you want the comfort of the 5 Series at a lesser price.
Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar